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IBAN NIKOLAI - sounds of the didgeridoo - DIDJERIDU HOTSAK

Iban Nikolai started playing the didgeridoo in 1997, when he was just 20 years old. He was self-taught at first, but later received classes and participated in workshops in both Europe and Australia.
He has studied with true maestros such as Wills (London), Nello Chiuminatto (Madrid), Raul Orte (Madrid), Lies Beijerinck (Holland, Catalonia) Mattias Muller (Italy), Michael Jackson, Mark Atkins, Charlie McMahon, Gary Thomas (Belgium), Ansgar Stain (Girona), Djalu Gurruwiwi (Australia) and Milkey (Australia).

In the year 2000 he began giving classes in Pamplona, San Sebastian and Bilbao. He has also organised workshops in Holland. He has played and given concerts in a number of different didgeridoo festivals, including: Arbucies (Girona) 2002, 2003, Texel (Holland) 2002, Berlin (Germany)2002, Cavour (Italy) 2002-2003 and Airvault (France).

In 2002 he recorded his first solo album: Yurlunggur He has collaborated with a number of other artists: -in the studio: Banja Luka (The scandal is inside your head), Xabier San Sebastian (2003)
-live : Abya Yala by Luis Camino.
He has also busked in the Basque Country, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, England and Australia.

In addition to giving classes, he also gives concerts, both as a soloist and accompanied by his group. He is also a member of Didgeridrum, along with Luis Camino, Javi Area and Ritxi Salaberria.

In 2004 he brought out his latest work Didjeridu Hotsak in which he works with:
Maria Simonson (vocals) Iban Calvo (production and sound), Javi Area (Shaker, box, darbuka, djembe), Gogui (guitar, box and vocals).
Ibai Nikolai (Didgeridoos, Australian sticks, shaker, percussion, muxukitarra)


The didgeridoo is, without doubt, one of the oldest instruments in the world (over 40,000 years old) and comes from the culture of the Australian aborigines.
It is basically a trunk hollowed out naturally by termites, which produces a deep sound when blown through. No two didgeridoos are the same. Each has its own particular sound. The trunk measures between 1.5 and 2 metres with a diameter of 2 to 5 cm.
The aborigines use didgeridoos in their songs, rituals and celebrations as a musical instrument. Some people sing and play wooden percussion instruments, while others accompany them on the didgeridoo.
The instrument has an endless list of different names: Yidaki is the best known and most commonly used among the aborigines, although it is also called Djalupu and Maluk. Although originally didgeridoos were made from eucalyptus wood, nowadays they are made from other materials in a number of different styles, including plastic (PVC), bamboo, teak, pita, glass and many different types of wood. Obviously, these new-style didgeridoos are not hollowed out by termites, but rather using a lathe, although in the case of bamboo, the hollow is natural.


The sound in general (called the drone) is caused by the vibration of the lips and pressure in the diaphragm. Players lips should not vibrate too hard and the pressure in the diaphragm must be exerted in an controlled way.
One the basic sound has been achieved, players can articulate using their mouth while maintaining the vibration with their lips.
You can also play around with your voice.
In order for the sound (or drone) not to stop, players must learn the so-called circular breathing system. This entails breathing out through your mouth while at the same time breathing in through your nose, in order to continue making an uninterrupted sound.


The didgeridoo is symbolically related to both Mother Nature and the beginning of the world and the universe. It is paired with Yurlunggur, the rainbow serpent. Being the bridge that joins the sky and the earth, the rainbow serpent links the material world and the spirit world.
There are many myths that explain the origins of the didgeridoo. This is one: During the era known as the dreamtime, when the universe was formed, legend tells of a man who went into the jungle looking for firewood. When he returned to his cave and lit a fire, he saw that the trunks and branches he had gathered had holes in them, out of which came burned ants. In order to stop these ants hurting him, he blew through the hole and that was the first time the sound of the didgeridoo was heard. And the burned ants that came out of the trunk became stars and formed the universe.
The aborigines believe that the sound of the didgeridoo is the fusion of all the sounds that exist in nature. They have always used the sound of this instrument as a means of entering the world of spirits and the great beyond. They therefore have the capacity to imitate the sounds of nature: the murmur of the sea, the swaying of branches and leaves and the sounds made by animals, etc.